#NavalNEWBUILDS – L.E. Samuel Beckett, the first of a pair of newbuild OPV vessels under construction for the Naval Service was expected to be floated-out next month, however this has been re-scheduled to November, writes Jehan Ashmore.
As previously reported last Friday's edition of 'Seascapes' exclusively featured a recorded interview of Commodore Mark Mellett, Flag Officer Commanding of the Naval Service, who spoke of the floating-out of the first new offshore patrol vessel.
According to the Naval Service, it now transpires that the OPV to be named L.E. Samuel Beckett will instead be floated-out in November, though this remains subject to a variety of circumstances among them the state of the tide.
The north Devon shipyard near Bideford is located at Appledore on the muddy banks of the river Torridge which is close to the confluence of the Taw river. Together they form an estuary that flows into the Bristol Channel with up to a 9m tidal range.
L.E. Samuel Beckett is scheduled to be delivered in early 2014 and the second newbuild OPV, L.E. James Joyce is to be delivered a year apart in early 2015. The order for the pair of PV90 class vessels are worth €99m and the work is contracted to Babcock Marine.
The same shipyard, albeit under different ownership had built the PV80 class or 'Roisin' pair which are a design derivitive for the newbuilds currently undergoing construction. Primarily the PV90 class will have an extended hull of 10 metres totalling 90 metres so to improve sea-keeping characteristics particularly in the Atlantic.
Notably the PV90's are to feature drones or "unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles" and robotic submersibles.
It is understood that the afterdeck will have additional space compared to L.E. Roisin (P51) and L.E. Niamh (P52) in that modular units (i.e containers) can be stowed for purposes of overseas missions.
As previously reported, the newbuilds will make a break from tradition in the choice of vessel names are taken from Irish 'male' Nobel-prize winning writers rather than 'female' names based from Celtic mythical figures.